Having my Invisalign braces and palate expander fitted yesterday was an absolutely horrible experience. I felt worn out and violated after the appointment.
I had to sit with a lip spreader on for 45 minutes - those things are appallingly like some kind of torture device from the Middle Ages - while someone dried, glued, pushed, heated and prodded their way around my face. Eventually, the sharp edges of the lip spreader pressing into my gum was enough for me to manage a loud cry. My eyes were streaming from the pain. Moving my lips to speak was impossible, and I was sure my lips were seconds away from splitting apart, like they might do outside in the cold for an extended time.
There were multiple applications of glue/dental composite, heating and drying and removal of all moisture from my mouth. I almost gagged at the smell of the bonding agent - it reeked like strong resin, and it was in my mouth! It made me want to choke. When I managed to communicate how awful the smell was, I was told, "yeah, many people say it smells like a nail salon, like when they do the acrylic, you know?" No, I don't know, and I don't subject myself to fumes like that voluntarily, thank you very much.
The dental composite 'dots,' or buttons, are strategically glued onto select tooth surfaces to force the aligner to sit in the required position. They're sharp and ragged, surprisingly - not smooth like a button, despite the name! My first plastic 'tray' of braces wouldn't sit in place, so an extra 15-20 minutes was spent in trying to find a way to maneuver it and make it stay secure, or we'd have to consult the dentist for advice, possibly requiring another scan and having the whole new series of 32 trays made up again from scratch ... Way to make me feel confident about managing this on my own, once home! But we persevered, and succeeded.
After that, it was time for the palate spreader (I paid for this torture - am I insane?). I was warned at that point that I wouldn't be able to speak properly for a while, due to the extra thickness of the palate that my tongue wouldn't be used to, and that many people drool a lot at first because it's difficult to swallow (and no, this is not a dieting device!). Speaking was a struggle, and I sounded like Sean Connery trying to say tennis - it came out as tennish. And as for swallowing; it was only possible with effort, and loud guttural, slurping sounds, like Darth Vader imitating a cappuccino machine. Heaven only knows how it will sound when I try to sleep with it tonight, whilst wearing a CPAP face mask!
I can't make up my mind which is worse - the indignity of having a mammogram compression plate squash my breasts, or having my lips forced apart with a hard piece of plastic in an horrendously taut and grotesque grimace. I can't remember when I last felt that exhausted and defeated. I was totally drained and weary, and felt sick to my stomach from the assault. I couldn't get myself to eat anything for hours afterwards, and was insanely uncomfortable from all the gas I'd slurped in in trying to swallow! But I do hope you enjoy reading about my 'adventure' - it definitely sounds more 'palatable' after a night's sleep. It was fun writing it down, now that it is fait accompli!